One of Scotland’s most iconic traditional bars, The Arlington in Glasgow, has changed hands after being bought by city-based investor and businessman, David Low.
The bar, which has been operated continuously on the same Woodlands Road site since 1860 – making it one of the city’s oldest surviving pubs – was sold for an undisclosed sum by former owner, sports agent and publican John Lonergan.
The unashamed ‘old-fashioned boozer’ has a distinguished history as a favoured haunt of students and academics from neighbouring Glasgow University and a hangout for thirsty journalists, artists and writers.
Famous customers over the years have included Sir Billy Connolly, Frankie Miller and punk band, The Clash.
It also claims to be home to the Stone of Destiny, the seat upon which ancient kings of Scotland were crowned, since 1950, when a group of four Nationalist students – and Arlington regulars – re-possessed the historic artefact from Westminster Abbey and allegedly hid it in the pub.
The stone now on display at Edinburgh Castle is a crude replica fashioned by the students, which they handed over to police when they were apprehended following the audacious raid, according to pub legend.
Mr Low, whose investment portfolio includes a significant holding in Scotland’s only cryptocurrency, Scotcoin, is chairman of the Three Thistles plc group of pubs that includes The Clockwork, Dram! and Bauhaus in Glasgow and The Steading in Edinburgh.
His brother, Kenny, is the sitting tenant in The Arlington which was the spur for acquiring the property.
He said: “It’s a traditional community pub with an eclectic mix of hipsters, locals, university academics and students.
“It’s one of the city’s oldest, continuously operated pubs. I’ve been a customer for many years and it’s an honour for me to see it through the next stage of its journey.”
Mr Low, who helped to broker the takeover of Celtic FC by Fergus McCann in 1994 – rescuing the club from the brink of collapse – said he did not plan to make any significant changes.
“In this age of corporately-owned theme bars and faceless chains, The Arlington is a rarity – a traditional, community pub for real people and, with the exception of perhaps a few cosmetic touches, I intend to leave it as it is.”
He added: “One of the great joys of The Arlington is the sense of continuity it represents. Many of its customers are people, now in their fifties and sixties, who drank there when they were students and who enjoy returning to something that doesn’t change.”
The sale of the pub included the ‘Stone of Destiny’ – also known as the Stone of Scone – which will continue to be displayed prominently in a glass case in the bar for the continued enjoyment of customers and tourists.
Mr Low added: “One of the two stones now resides in The Arlington and it’s for others to judge which is the original. It’s not for me to decide but if anyone wants to offer an opinion, they are welcome to drop by and do so over a pint.”
“I can say with some confidence the Stone will not be leaving The Arlington and the next king will not be crowned there.”